The cost of transporting a car can fill drivers with dread, especially if the carrier must ship the vehicle to another state or even farther afield. Vehicle owners naturally want to find the cheapest car shipping available, but it’s an instinct that could be costly.
Drivers can’t afford to forget that there’s a big difference between the cheapest and the most cost-effective way to get their vehicles delivered. They should also strongly consider auto transport insurance. This guide will examine how to choose the best option to protect your ride and your wallet.
Your Car Shipping Options
So, you’ve wisely decided to avoid the danger and expense of long-distance driving, and you’re ready to hire an auto carrier. Their rigs come in three basic types; some are more expensive than others, but all are viable as the cheapest option, depending on your circumstances:
This is the most common carrier option, with multiple cars loaded up for transport. This service is popular, so there are many companies to choose from, meaning better chances of a competitive quote. The downside: Open shipping exposes vehicles to elemental damage, road debris, and increased risk of theft.
This more expensive option comes with the advantages of protecting the vehicle from the risks associated with open transport. Enclosed carriers come in multicar, two-car, or single-car options, getting more expensive the fewer cars are aboard.
The downside: Enclosed carriers are heavier and less fuel-efficient (leading to higher costs for the customer), and they’re slower getting to their destination due to less demand for this method.
These carriers are wide open, having no roof or sides. They also have the drawbacks of longer delivery times and much higher costs. They may be the only option, though, if you drive one of the heavier and bigger vehicles, like a van or large pickup truck. Vehicle dimensions and weight are significant metrics in shipping costs.
Larger vehicles are at higher risk from low-hanging dangers like bridges and trees if placed on top of a carrier, and they probably won’t fit on the lower deck. Flatbed drivers are thus typically more skilled and careful, which is a plus to offset the higher cost.
There’s more to consider than just the price of A to B shipping when choosing the cheapest car transport. Other potential expenses are lurking that could make the “cheap” option more expensive than you bargained for if you don’t plan for them.
The Cheapest Ways to Ship Your Car (All Things Considered)
There are several common reasons for requiring an auto carrier. Some situations will allow vehicle owners to book transport at their leisure. Others will impose a schedule or a time crunch. Knowing which one applies to you is important when estimating shipping costs.
Let’s deconstruct what contributes to the most comprehensively cheap car shipping by considering all aspects of various transport scenarios:
Relocating for Work
New jobs will have a fixed start date, and if you’re shipping a car, you probably have to move to a new home, which is already expensive. You could cut corners and choose the cheapest carrier option, thus initially saving money, but what if your vehicle doesn’t get there in time or it arrives damaged?
Consider whether the cheaper open carrier option is worth the financial risk of damage or theft, and if the enclosed option is worth the potential time delay (which could result in a late start and lost wages).
Rare or Collectible Vehicles
The cheapest way to ship this vehicle type is definitely the most expensive way. Here’s what we mean: You can’t take the chance of a fine vehicle getting scratched, dented, or stolen, so opting for enclosed shipping (and very probably a solo container) drops those chances to their lowest. It’s more expensive at the moment, but also much cheaper than paying for repair or replacement.
Many Americans like to head south to states like Florida to avoid harsh winter conditions. Think twice before sending your car ahead in that situation. Winter is typically the season for cheap car transport due to low demand. It can also be slower and riskier due to snow, sleet, ice, and hail, all upping the chances of an accident or the vehicle taking a pounding on an open carrier.
Those who have settled on an open carrier may be happy with winter’s price point/hazard hybrid, or they may want to opt for summer, which is faster due to high demand but potentially more expensive for the same reason.
Spring and autumn are the sweet spots, combining faster-than-winter shipping with cheaper-than-summer pricing. See what your schedule allows and choose accordingly for the lowest possible shipping quote.
Door-to-Door (D2D) Vs. Terminal-to-Terminal (T2T)
You’ll have to decide between these two options once you’ve selected a carrier type. D2D has the carrier picking your vehicle up and dropping it off at your destination. T2T requires the customer to drop the vehicle off at a carrier terminal, then pick it up at another one later.
Cheapest is subjective here. T2T might end up cheaper since you’re not paying extra for the company to pick it up and drop it off. You are still paying for your gas both ways, however, and leaving the vehicle open to potentially costly elemental damage and theft at both ends.
Some deeper reflection reveals that cheap car shipping isn’t a cut-and-dried concept. Consult with an experienced auto shipper before committing to evaluate the variables and make the most cost-effective decision.
Contact the Experts With Any Questions About Cheap Car Shipping
Geyers Towing and Transport is your go-to company if you’ve got a vehicle that’s Florida-bound and you’re looking for cheap car shipping from Washington, D.C., Maryland, or Virginia. We can also handle auto transportation from all points in between.
Our team operates 24/7 to provide stress-free auto transport solutions as well as providing for your towing service needs and much more. Contact our office for more information or a free, same-day quote.